Timbers lineup, Timbers vs. RSL, 8.31.19
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Timbers 1, Real Salt Lake 0 | Aug. 31, 2019

Portland Timbers Quotes
Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese

General thoughts on the victory…
“Massive win, because it was a win that we worked for. Very proud of the effort put on the field. Real Salt Lake is a good team. They put some good challenges to us today, but I felt that the team was strong, united, didn’t allow too many options. Every time we had a player there to help and all around it was a great performance. Diego [Valeri] put a magic touch for us to be able to get this win with that great goal. It was a great sacrifice. Guys like [Jeremy Ebobisse], [Sebastian Blanco], and everybody. The amount of work that they put in to make sure we didn’t get scored against, it was fantastic. We needed these three points. These three points keep us closer to this difficult table. Everybody is fighting to survive. Everybody is fighting to make the playoff, and today it was huge for us to get this win.”

On Steve Clark and the defense’s performance tonight…
“It was excellent. Clark was secure, was good in goal. He made one or two moments, saves that were crucial and the distribution, the way he played from the back gave the team a lot of confidence. The defensive line was very strong. I think we can still be better in some moments, make some better decisions in a few things that we can do a little better. Overall the energy, the desire, the commitment, the things sometimes that we were a little bit too much up and down the past two games, today it was steady and complete. Very mature and excellent from all the guys. Even the guys as I said, [Ebobisse], Diego [Valeri], [Blanco], they sacrificed to make sure that they defended as well. They helped the defenders to make sure we kept [the shutout].”

On the defensive injuries the team is dealing with…
“We have to be courageous because this is where we are right now. When these moments come and the group steps on the field and get the job done, then it gives you a little bit more feeling that we can go through this difficult moment. Hopefully we’re going to get players back and as of now, the guys are ready to play next week. The desire, the energy was great today and that is what we need to continue to have. It came through, the good week we were able to have finally. The work during the practices was fantastic and it related to what we saw today.”

On setting the team up to create space between Real Salt Lake’s defense and midfield…
“I thought that we found some good spaces in the first half. Some other things that we saw from this RSL team is that if we move players from their positions we can find gaps in behind. That’s what we tried to do. Sometimes, I think, not enough as we probably could have done, but we did find some moments in which we became very dangerous all the way to the end. I think in the second half we were just a little bit tired and also, I think, we were rushing to some decisions that maybe could have been a little bit better to create a better opportunity. Because we got there, we had those moments in which we attack, but I think it was the first half in which we were having a little bit more composure, being calmer in our decisions when we had the ball going forward.”

Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
On the importance of obtaining three points tonight…

“[Real] Salt Lake is a team that is looking for a spot in the playoffs, too. It was very important; it was a tough game. They played very good with the ball today, they possessed a lot the ball and forced us to be in zones we don’t want. We gained a lot scoring the first goal quick in the game and that gave us calm to manage the game and try to score the second goal, that didn’t come, but at the end the most important is the three points.”

On what we saw at the moment of scoring the match’s lone goal…
“We created a turnover, [Andrés Flores] passed it to me and I wasn’t in a range of shooting and I saw a couple of movements, but it was a good zone to try the shot… I was looking at [Nick] Rimando and I tried to put it in that spot and I got the luck that [the ball] went in.”

On how the team feels as an attacking unit…
“We feel good. I think today even if we didn’t possess the ball as we did last game and as we have been consistently doing in the home games, we created some good chances in the first half and the second half. I think we were not very clinical to make the last decision, the last movement, the last shot in the counters that we got, and maybe that could’ve change the game a lot. As I said, that is the most difficult thing in soccer. But we are feeling good. Today we all helped to win the game, we did a lot of sacrifices and that’s why we are happy.”

Portland Timbers defender Bill Tuiloma
On the team’s defensive performance tonight…
“I knew I had to step up and be vocal at the back. I’m glad we did the job at the back and I’m very happy with the players. I trust these players and whoever is playing… trust in them and glad we finished with the three points.”

On his partnership with Claude Dielna…
“It worked out very well. Claude is a player with a lot of experience and I learn when I play off him and we gel very well. Like I said, I trust the players I’m playing with and the players on the field, I trust they’ll finish the job.”

On Real Salt Lake having more of the ball possession…
“Yeah, sometimes you just have to win ugly. This was one of those games were we battled to the end. We stayed compact, stayed composed. I’m just proud of the team, proud of the players that came on. They did the job well. Got the three points, and move onto the next one.”

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark
On making a key save in stoppage time…

“I was really relieved just to kind of get out there with the three points, so I was glad to make that save.”

On the importance of getting the three points…
“I look at the three points and sometimes I think you look at process and sometimes you look at results. And today I think we’ll just take the three points and continue to work and train this week, get a little rest and prepare for the next game.”

On the meaning of getting the job done despite dealing with several injuries in the squad…
“That’s basically what it was. These are huge points. It’s coming down to the wire here, teams are playing so tough at home, but I thought we were great to get that result tonight. We’re dealing with injuries, but we have guys in there that can do the job. It’s a next-man-up mentality and it will be for every position.”

Real Salt Lake Quotes
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Freddy Juarez
General thoughts on the match…
“I mean I think it’s clearly… we deserved something out of it; at minimum a tie, and that’s just how games go. You know, it’s ironically been practiced a lot on top of the box combination play, finishing for the last three weeks and we created more than enough chances and more than enough good looks and just didn’t score and that’s how the game sometimes goes. I think we came away from home, I think we won the possession battle, shot battle, maybe lost the duel battle, but it was close. Couldn’t be happier for the guys. I mean, sad for them because you go and put an effort like that, you want them to come out with their head up high. And you know, it’s going to go down naturally but I hope they realize that it was a good team effort.

On if he was pleased with the team’s effort in the second half…
“More than pleased. Again, the stats show that we came out and played, didn’t sit back, you know, controlled the game. At times when we didn’t have it, a good defensive plot, good defensive commitment. When we had it we were brave, we created some chances, maybe just that final quality or maybe… patience...where we’re going to have a better shot but for example the last shot Aaron [Herrera] had, you know a little more composure in there and maybe now you put it on frame and something else happens. But happy for the guys. I think the fans should be happy with not the result, but the commitment from the guys was very good.”

On Diego Valeri’s first-half goal…
“I don’t have it clear in my head, I think a little miscommunication, someone maybe thinking that it’s going to get through, someone anticipates, it doesn’t, and then you leave someone of that quality with that open of a shot and they punish you, they punish you. But we reacted well. Again, happy with the commitment from the guys.”

Real Salt Lake midfielder Damir Kreilach
On the result…

“We are frustrated. We want to defend our second place in the table. At the end of the day we played well. Honestly, I don’t remember one game this year away from home where we were open in the box. We created so many chances and we didn’t use it. It’s hard to find the words but we have to pick our heads up and keep going.”

On the chances created…
“Everything we did in training this week we put on the field. We just missed the goal. We wanted to get the points here. As I said, we have to put our heads up and keep going.”

Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad
On what he saw on Diego Valeri’s first-half goal…

“He was taking the ball down the field and it put us in a tough position because me and Nedum [Onuoha] both had runners off our shoulders so we couldn’t quite step to him and he hit it perfectly. He struck it nicely and it was a great goal.”

On coming back strong next week despite the loss…
“I think the whole team knows we put in a good effort. We created our chances away from home and it’s not like we got dominated or anything. So I think we’ll use it as momentum for our next game. And I don’t think that this game is going to deter us in any way, shape or form.”

On taking positives from limiting the Timbers’ attack…
“I mean obviously the loss stings a bit and we’re going to go back and watch film, but I think aside from putting ourselves in trouble in the first half, it was a pretty solid game. So we’ll look at it, learn from it and move on.”

Notes:

  • Portland has beaten Real Salt Lake in four consecutive matches between the clubs. That ties a club record for most consecutive wins against a single opponent, with Portland’s four-game winning streak over the Philadelphia Union.
  • Steve Clark now has 31 shutouts for his MLS career.
  • Clark notched six saves and had his fifth shutout of the season in the match.
  • Diego Valeri scored his eighth goal of the season.
  • Valeri scored in consecutive games for the first time this season and the 10th time in his MLS career.
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